SBJ/June 2 - 8, 2003/Labor Agents

New men’s tennis association wants more info from ATP on finances, operations

Members of the new International Men's Tennis Association are concerned about ATP responses to their inquiries on the organization's finances and business operations, including its failed relationship with ISL, a lawyer for IMTA said last week.

"Some of the responses were full responses, but the majority were less than complete," said Rob Freeman, an attorney with law firm Brown Raysman Millstein Felder & Steiner, which is outside counsel to the IMTA "The next logical step is for us, the IMTA, is to sit down with the ATP to engage in a discussion about the responses and our concerns and issues raised by the responses."

The IMTA was officially launched in March by a group of players who wanted more information about the business of the ATP and more of a voice in the running of the organization. The new tennis players trade association has more than 60 members, Freeman said.

The ATP board is made up of three members representing ATP players, three members representing the tournaments and ATP CEO Mark Miles. There is speculation that the IMTA seeks to replace the ATP Player Council, which appoints the three player members to the board of directors.

In April the IMTA requested information on 17 items, including the tour's audited finances, the salaries and benefits paid to the top 25 employees, television contracts, and documents relating to the ATP's $1.2 billion marketing agreement with the now defunct ISL. The players also requested "what we understand to be the recent two-year contract extension of the ATP Chief Executive" in the April letter.

In a reply dated May 1, ATP Player Council members Todd Martin and Todd Woodbridge stated that individual staff compensation and copies of employment agreements were confidential and would not be disclosed. The letter said the ATP would provide ranges of compensation by staff level.

The letter also said that information about television contracts "is on an individual tournament basis and is not in ATP's possession" and that its agreement with ISL is "subject to confidentiality provisions and can't be provided."

Freeman said the IMTA would like to see specific documents surrounding the failed marketing agreement with ISL. "We would like to know what due diligence was done before they would agree to do a deal with ISL," he said.

On other information request items, Martin and Woodbridge directed IMTA members to a CD-ROM that the ATP recently distributed to its members containing information about the ATP's operations.

Woodbridge and Martin were at the French Open last week and were not immediately available for comment. Martin, in an interview with tennisreporters.net, said of the IMTA's information request, "We've provided them with every bit of information they could possibly want. I'm confident that nothing significant in those documents would constitute a formation of another organization. I am also confident that their lawyers will tell them that there is something that should constitute significant change."

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